The concert I went to was the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture, Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony at Brighton Dome, conducted by Danail Rachev, with pianist Sofya Gulyak as the soloist for the Rachmaninov. The concert started with a brilliantly sinister C minor opening to the Schubert, soon followed by the contrasting, playful C major section, both conducted with wonderful passion from Rachev. Woodwind and violins marvellously commandeered the slower melodies in the beginning of the overture, before transforming into the jokey C major melodies, with the cellos creating and equally playful counter melody in the following bars. This brilliant energy in the orchestra was magnificently maintained all the way through, all the way up to the overture’s brilliant finale!

Following the Schubert came Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, an incredible piece in most people’s books! From the very beginning of the concerto’s mournful D minor opening to the triumphant D major finale, the performance was an immense success, and was received with a standing ovation from almost half the Dome’s gigantic audience! Gulyak’s unbelievable virtuoso technique was mind blowing, and it was great to be able to see the hammers hitting the strings in the reflection of the piano from where I was sitting, and they definitely weren’t having a very peaceful evening! Gulyak got the emotions and atmosphere perfect throughout the piece, from the fast and passionate first and third movements to gorgeous, luxurious slow movement.

Finally, the Beethoven sealed off the concert as a tremendous success, with an especially appealing second movement, in my opinion. The mournful melodies from the strings were wonderfully balanced, and perfectly interpreted by both conductor and orchestra, however the second movement did not steal all the attention of the symphony – the piece started with beautiful woodwind melodies accompanied by outlined chords from the strings before excited scales developed in counterpoint between higher and lower strings.

I thoroughly enjoyed this concert, and I would recommend seeing any of these three pieces played!

Oliver Pickard, aged 15

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Schubert, Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus: overture Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto no. 3 in D minor, Op.30 Beethoven, Symphony no. 7 in A major, Op.92 Brighton Dome Saturday 26th February 2011

©Marco Borggreve.